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Threepeat: Texas State wins third straight Sun Belt title

Keff Ciardello
American-Statesman Correspondent

Texas State won a third straight Sun Belt volleyball championship on Sunday, taking down previously undefeated Coast Carolina in five sets in the finals of the Sun Belt tournament in Foley, Ala.

The 15th-ranked Bobcats came back from a 2-1 set deficit to force the decisive fifth set thanks to a 9-5 run in the fourth, then shot out to a quick 6-0 lead in the fifth on the way to a 20-25, 25-18, 23-25, 25-19, 15-6 victory.

Coastal Carolina’s star player, Anett Nemeth, was injured in the second set with the Chanticleers trailing 20-16. The 2019 Sun Belt offensive player of the year did not return; the Bobcats went on a 5-2 run after her exit to take the second set.

The Chanticleers (18-1) bounced back in the third set, which was a tightly-contested one that saw nine ties.

But Texas State jumped out to a 10-4 lead in the fourth set before the Chanticleers made it a 12-9 game. The Bobcats went on another run to make it 21-14 before eventually taking the set, 25-19.

The 15th-ranked Bobcats finished their season at 24-2. It’s the fourth Sun Belt tournament championship for Texas State since joining the conference in 2013, with the Bobcats also winning in 2013, 2018 and 2019. It was the first threepeat in the Sun Belt since Arkanas-Little Rock won in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Texas State senior middle blocker Tyeranee Scott was named tournament MVP, leading all players in the finals with 18 kills on a kill percentage of .500 and six block assists. Junior setter Emily DeWalt was the only other Bobcat named to the all-tournament team after leading the Bobcats in the finals with 49 assists. DeWalt is the two-time reigning Sun Belt setter of the year, winning in 2018 and 2019.

Outside hitter Janell Fitzgerald also paced the Bobcats with 13 kills and five block assists in the finals.